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New Year, New You?

It’s been 4 days into the new year, and if I’m being honest, things don’t really seem a whole lot different. That’s probably because time and our concept of social dates is a social construct, and we can’t magically hit the reset button every new year.

That being said, I usually love New Years Day. Every year, as I watch the fireworks with my family, I try to visualize what the next year will be like, what amazing new things will it hold for me, what resolutions will I make, only to abandon within the first two weeks?

This New Years was a little more muted, which makes sense since we are literally living through a pandemic. But all cards on the table, I’ve been feeling apprehensive about this year. And just a teensy bit scared.

When I first moved to the US for undergraduate study, I was terrified. But I didn’t voice those fears. I usually like to hide my fears under a big shiny ego that is made of actual self confidence yes, but also of a teeny tiny bit of a “fake it till you make it“ attitude.

Not to be dramatic or anything, but I’d rather die than be pitied. Why would I show everyone my inner vulnerabilities while embarking on what could very well be the biggest adventure of my life? I spent my teenage years miserable, it could only go uphill from now right?

It did. And I’m grateful. But I have already waxed eloquent in previous posts on what a joy the last few years have been, so time to tap into some of the uncertainties I’ve been battling lately.

It’s 2021. And it’s a welcome change. Honestly last year was kind of a shit show, in the world yes, but also on a personal scale. Living alone for a year kind of sucks, you guys. I usually love and need my solitude.

But this wasn’t solitude. It was loneliness. It was coming back each night to an empty apartment with no one to cheer me up when I was sad. It was fear that if my classes go online, maybe I’d have to go back as an international student. It was only being able to see my family through a computer screen. It was watching my friendships crumble as friends moved away, or stayed in their home countries or simply drifted apart for a multitude of reasons. It was isolating myself from the friends that were there for me, for weeks at a time while I made sense of all the ups and downs in my life without being pressured to pretend to be happy when I really wasn’t feeling my perky self.

2021 is already seeming to be much more exciting and joyful because I’m going to graduate, move away, and start a brand new chapter.

On one hand, I’m ready for a change , having acquired all the life lessons I wanted to learn.

On the other hand, so many questions linger in my mind. Will this new semester be the same as the last one? The pandemic isn’t over yet, things aren’t going to magically become alright because of a new year.

Will I keep in touch with my best friends and them with me or will we just drift away, and the worse part would be if we all were actually okay with losing touch, that the friendships just turned into memories of our yester years while we frolic around in the new lives we created.

Or maybe that’s the bittersweet beauty of life and the connections we make? They give us so much joy. And then they end. And then we make new memories with new people that touch our lives. Maybe that’s something I’ll learn over time as I continue to move and travel.

Will I be able to go home as much? What will my dynamic with my family look like in a couple of years? Will my newly adopted cats remember me and still cuddle up to me the same way when I come back?

What if I don’t get into my dream program?

Will I suck at living in a big city when I move for grad school? Be too scared to take the subway or burst into tears the minute a busy person on the street snaps at me? Would I be tough enough to handle it?

What if I’m not as good a writer as I think I am, and grad school sucks. Here as an undergraduate, academics are a breeze. But what if I work my ass off and still blow at it? I’ll be working alongside students having years more work experience, more polished, more in touch with the culture. What if I stick out like a sore thumb?

Will I be open enough to confide in someone when things get rough or just shut myself off from the world like I always do, while plastering on a bright smile (in front of the friends) and a customary childish frown (in front of the family)?

At the end of the day, I don’t have the answers to these questions. I will as time goes by, and I think I’ll find that there was nothing to worry about. Even if there is, I‘ll be fine either way. I always am. I bounce back on my feet, even if I have to be theatrical about it first.

I think my takeaway from the doubts I’ve been facing lately is: the twenties are rough (both the age range, and the decade we are currently in). Everything is uncertain, everything is up in the air, but I think the only thing I can do, the only thing we all can do is take it one day at a time and give it all that we’ve got. We’ll always have questions, fears and insecurities. But like I like to say, “it do be how it be.”

Life is full of twists and turns, and I intend to have a wild ride on each one of those turns (despite my deathly fear of rollercoasters!). Good luck on your ride readers, I hope you make it through. New year, new you is a myth. Focus on a new year, and a continually improving you.

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